The Boscov's store at Court and Water streets on January 10, 2017. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]

With the impending closure of an Oakdale Mall anchor store, the City of Binghamton is working to hold on to the Boscov's department store.

The Macy's store in Johnson City, which has 73 employees, is expected to close on April 18.

Last week's announcement that the space would soon be available prompted speculation about a future mall tenant.

Binghamton Mayor Richard David has been in contact with Boscov's chairman Albert Boscov and other company representatives to discuss the future of the downtown store.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, David said there "is reason for concern" because of a "possible shake-up" in the regional retailing scene.

The Binghamton Boscov's store opened in August 1984 after an aggressive effort by then-Mayor Juanita Crabb to convince the company to open a downtown store.

Tax records indicate the Binghamton store has about 133,000 square feet of space. The Oakdale Mall Macy's store occupies 140,000 square feet. Most Boscov's stores are located in malls.

The mayor said he has told Boscov that the city is committed to keeping the store downtown "for the foreseeable future."

The Court Street building housing the store is owned by the Broome County Industrial Development Agency. David said "some significant investment" is needed in the old structure.

The mayor said "there are conversations going on" with Boscov's representatives regarding the future of the building.

David said the more than 150 full- and part-time jobs provided by Boscov's are important for the city, as is the store's presence as part of the downtown business district.

The mayor said the closing of the Binghamton Boscov's store would create "a major hole in downtown Binghamton." He said it's unrealistic to believe another retailer would move into the building if Boscov's leaves.

David said the ongoing talks with Boscov's officials are aimed at negotiating a new long-term lease with the Reading-based company.

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